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Padilla, Bullpen KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKed Rockies

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The Colorado Rockies couldn’t emerge from the K-hole they fell into yesterday. After striking out 12 times in last night’s game, they struck out an additional 17 times losing 5-3 against the Dodgers.

Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla knew this was an audition for the postseason. His fast balls were crisp and he was able to get his curve balls over for strikes striking out the first five batters he faced. He ended up going five innings giving up a run on four hits with ten strikeouts.

“I didn’t really think [that it’s an audition],” Padilla said through translator Kenji Nimura. “I just wanted to win the game. That’s all I really thought about”

Padilla’s curve balls were particularly devastating. There was one at 60 mph to Seth Smith for a called strike in the first inning. In the second inning Padilla threw back-to-back curve balls at 60 mph and 61 mph for strikes to Brad Hawpe. Perhaps the most lethal was a 55-mph rainbow that Hawpe took for a first pitch in the fourth inning.

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“He looked great today,” acting manager Brad Ausmus said of Padilla’s performance. “Five innings of shutout ball, you can’t ask for anything more.”

Rockies starter Jason Marquis in his lone start at Dodger Stadium pitched a complete game shutout allowing only two hits while striking out three.

The Dodgers made sure that wouldn’t happen and jumped on him early.

Juan Pierre led off with a sliding triple to the delight of Dodger fans. Then things got weird.

On a 1-2 count, Orlando Hudson struck out on an inside pitch that was deemed to be a foul tip off the butt of the bat. The next pitch Jason Marquis threw went inside on Matt Kemp grazing his uniform. After about 10 seconds, home plate umpire Brian Gorman awarded first base to Kemp.

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After Andre Ethier walked to load the bases, the Dodgers cashed in. Casey Blake hit a single that scored Pierre and Kemp. Doug Mientkiewicz hit a single that scored Ethier. After Chin-Lung Hu struck out for the second out, AJ Ellis got his first big league hit and RBI scoring Blake.

When Vicente Padilla struck out to end the inning, the Dodgers laid waste on Marquis to the tune of four runs and four hits.

The Rockies struck back in the second inning. Hawpe made sure he let Padilla know that he didn’t appreciate the curveballs. On a 1-2 pitch Hawpe, who has a lifetime .349 batting average against the Dodgers with 19 home runs, hit a solo shot to center field to cut into the Dodgers lead 4-1.

As for Ausmus, he had fun with managing the team.

“It was a little different,” Ausmus said. “It’s a little more difficult, we have 30-something players a handful we want to get off the field to an ovation. More of a chess match than just a 25-man roster in a regular game.”

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“Coach Ausmus coached us to a win,” Kemp said. “He’s 1-0 so he’s good so far, and he got into the game.

Perhaps the most interesting move Ausmus made was inserting himself as a pinch runner in the eighth inning for Jim Thome.

“I’m the second least fast guy on the team next to Thome,” Ausmus said. “Maybe Loretta, I might be third. But somebody had to pinch run, so I figured I’d get myself out of the way.”

As fun as it was Ausmus will be content to be the back-up catcher for the Dodgers.

“I’m turning the reigns right back over to Joe, if he ever shows up again,” he said.

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It was then we in the media realized Torre made an escape.

When Ausmus was playing for the Houston Astros, manager Phil Garner explained why he played Ausmus all the time.

“I have to keep him playing, because if he starts managing, he’ll be better than me,” Garner said.

Could Torre be feeling the heat?

“Nah he’s just chillin’,” Kemp said of Torre’s whereabouts.

The Dodgers drew a crowd of 51,376. For the season they totaled 3,761,669 the most in the Major Leagues and the second highest in Dodger history.

Their 95-67 record equals their 1985 mark and is the best since 1977 when they went 98-64.

The acting coaching staff was as follows:

Manager: Brad Ausmus for Joe Torre
Bench Coach: Mark Loretta for Bob Schaefer
Pitching Coach: Mike Borzello (bullpen catcher) for Rick Honeycutt
Bullpen Coach: Jeff Weaver for Ken Howell
Hitting Coach: Jim Thome for Don Mattingly
Asst. Hitting Coach: Juan Castro for Jeff Pentland